Hi. I've been unsettling myself on the Internet for about seven years now--I really am just beginning to find my place. Most of my time is spent developing web based educational materials for use in the courses I teach at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I teach out of the Department of Sociology with special interest in the areas of the social construction of deviance, alcohol and drug use studies, and the social reality of technology. I'm also a "Specialist" in Information Technology Services helping to coordinate the introduction and use of Internet courseware programs on our campus. You can also visit me via my personal web page.
Thoughts on the Information Age and Education
We are immersed within a rapidly evolving information society. Computers not only coordinate the mundane elements of our lives, linked together through the Internet they create a matrix that links us to an ever increasing wealth (and sometimes a glut) of information. As educators, these Internet technologies enable us to take advantage of new opportunities for accessing information, and to extend interactivity beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Computers, and Internet technologies, also embody the very tools we must control in order to use and share information. As such, these technologies create new sets of demands for their users. Teachers, as well as students, must become knowledgeable of the possibilities these technologies represent, and must also develop the skills that allow for the effective use of these technologies in the classroom context. The vast and ready availability of information also demands that we develop our skills of critical evaluation so that these resources can be used intelligently. To use information technology effectively and coherently individuals must develop a fluency that allows them to adapt to a constantly changing environment.
Over the past 6 years I have tried to adapt the phenomenal information sharing and interactivity enhancing elements of the Internet into my course presentation at UM-St. Louis. I continue to do this because I think it is clear that exposure to the use of these elements, and the development of control over their use, are the central skills that will allow individuals to participate most fully as citizens of the evolving information age. This level of participation is central in allowing individuals some sort of control over their own lives.
1. Albert Borgmann, 1999. Holding on to Reality: The Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium, The University of Chicago Press: Chicago. Page 178.